When it comes to perfecting your culinary skills, a good knife set is crucial, even for the most casual of home chefs: Having the right tools on hand can instantly step up your meal preparation game. Knife sets aren’t exactly one size fits all, however, since we all have different needs in the kitchen. While some of us will require versatile cutlery for whipping up multi-course meals on the regular, others may simply need a solid collection of steak knives for the occasional holiday feast. Read on to find out how to choose the best knife set for your specific necessities.
What are the best kitchen knife sets?
There’s no shortage of amazing cutlery sets to be uncovered, but finding the right one for your specific desires can be more challenging than you might think.
For starters, before buying a new knife set, you’ll need to think about exactly what you’ll be using them for. Will you be filleting fish often? Do you have a house full of steak lovers? How often will you use — and consequently, dull — your knives?
You’ll also need to take stock of what’s included in each of these essential kitchen sets. While most at-home chefs can get by with a handful of knives, there are a few key utensils you’ll definitely want to look for in your new set, including a paring knife for peeling, trimming, and cutting small food items, a chef’s knife (or a multi-purpose knife) for general cutting, including chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing, and a serrated knife, which is vital for slicing bread, tomatoes, and more delicate foods, such as fruit and baked goods.
Additional wants may include a meat cleaver (used for cutting up larger meats like chicken and ribs), a vegetable cleaver (for finely chopping and dicing herbs and veggies), a utility knife, (this often serves as an additional chef’s knife), a fillet knife (for filleting fish), a boning knife (to remove meat from chicken or roasts), a carving blade (to slice up your holiday ham, turkey, and roasts), or a bread knife (made specifically for cutting baked goods and fruit).
Some sets may include a honing steel for keeping blades sharp, or kitchen shears, which are useful for tasks such as cutting herbs or opening food packaging.
Your knife set preference may also vary based on physical preferences. Do you prefer a lightweight version that you can easily wield, or something with a little more heft? Will these knives feel good in your hand and comfortable to use?
We’ve scoured the web for the best of the best for of the above specifications and more, so whether you’ve got professional-level cooking skills or are a beginner chef, you’re sure to find your dream knife set. From a deluxe Wüsthof 7-piece set to a solid stainless steel version that costs less than your average takeout order, there are a slew of great options out there just waiting to be discovered. Keep scrolling to shop FIRST‘s picks for the best knife sets to suit all your meal prep needs!
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Best Self Sharpening Knife Set
Calphalon Classic 15-Piece
Where to buy: $109.99 (Originally $179.99), Amazon
Spending hundreds of dollars on a knife set is silly if you don’t plan to keep the blades sharp — a practice that can keep you slicing and dicing for years to come. If you don’t want to take your knives to a pro for sharpening (who has the time?), look no further than the Calphalon Classic 15-piece knife set, which has built-in ceramic sharpeners for a freshly sharpened blade each and every time you put one of these knives back into its slot.
This expansive, 15-piece collection of high-carbon, no-stain forged steel knives features cutlery both big and small for all your chopping needs. It features comfortable, labeled handles and a storage block, plus one non-sharpening slot for a favorite existing kitchen tool.
Most Stylish Knife Set
Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece
Where to buy: $139.83, Amazon
If you’ve recently moved or done a kitchen renovation, you're likely in need of a stylish knife set to reflect your modern taste. We love this Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-piece forged block set, which comes in a sleek glass block that not only looks great on your counter, but also makes it super quick to find the exact piece you’re looking for.
Featuring a 3.5-inch paring knife, a 5-inch utility knife, a 6-inch boning knife, an 8-inch bread knife, and two 8-inch chef's knives, these high-carbon, no-stain German blades are every bit as gorgeous as they are useful. This set also offers up an ergonomic handle with a no-slip grip that will be comfortable even if your hands are wet.
Reviewers love the way this set looks in their space, with a recent Amazon purchaser writing, “This is our first real knife set, and we were blown away by the quality and sharpness of the knives. Not to mention that the stand looks really incredible."
Best Small Knife Set
Victorinox 4-Piece Knife
Where to buy: $129.95, Amazon
Whether you’re working with in confined kitchen quarters or simply have too many gadgets and appliances taking up precious real estate on your countertops, it doesn't hurt to have solid knife set without a big bulky block spanning the length of your space. Enter the Victorinox 4-piece knife set, which contains a chef’s knife, a bread knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife. Each one is made with an ergonomic handle (perfect for hand and wrist comfort!) and a high carbon stainless steel blade that's been ice-tempered to ensure sharpness. These Swiss-made knives are perfect for chopping, mincing, slicing, and dicing, and take up minimal prep space in your kitchen.
They also received stellar reviews from Amazon customers across the board, who called them "razor sharp."
Best Beginner Knife Set
Where to buy: $27.99 (Originally $29.34), Amazon
If you’re not exactly an expert in the kitchen, not to worry — the ZYLISS 6-piece kitchen knife set is an affordable and durable option that even the most amateur of chefs will be able to use with ease.
Including a chef's knife, santoku knife, utility knife, serrated paring knife, and paring and peeling knives, this set's colorful design eliminates confusion over which knife is which, while safety blade guards protect these tools for travel and storage. Ergonomic handles feature soft-touch rubber grips that is ideal for hand and wrist fatigue.
As one buyer wrote, “I am by no means a professional chef and I've never had the money to purchase expensive, fancy knives. ... That being said... this is one of the best knives I've ever used. I do a lot of cooking and chop large amounts of vegetables about four or five times a week. It responds very well to sharpening and it holds its edge quite well — significantly better than the other knives I have in my drawer!"
Best Knife Set for Home Cooks
J.A. Henckels International
Where to buy: $87.46, Amazon
There’s many reasons why this German brand is widely regarded as the best of the best when it comes to kitchen tools, and the J.A. Henckels International 15-piece knife set serves up 15 of them. Whether you’re a busy mom whipping up quick weekday dinners or a home chef in-the-making who needs an arsenal of tools at your disposal, this durable, stainless steel set comes fully equipped with everything you need'll to create chef-grade quality meals faster than it would take to order takeout.
Boasting lightweight, satin-finished blades with sturdy triple-rivet handles, this set is comprised of a 3-inch paring knife, 5-inch serrated knife, a 7-inch Santoku knife, an 8-inch chef's knife, an 8-inch bread knife, and six 4.5-inch steak knives, and kitchen shears, and is dishwasher-safe.
Best All Around Knife Set
Wüsthof Classic 7-Piece Knife Set
Where to buy: $349.95, Amazon
At nearly $350, this set is a splurge, to be sure, but the Wüsthof Classic 7-piece slim knife block comes with German-made knives that feature an ultra-slim full-tang design. For those that are unfamiliar with the term, it means that the stainless steel runs down to the handle — making these knives among the sturdiest and strongest versions available today.
The block itself is slim, and it comes in your choice of four stunning finishes: acacia, bamboo, black, and natural. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, so your investment will be protected.
Best Knife Set Under $100
Utopia Kitchen Premium
Where to buy: $23.99 (Originally $28.99), Amazon
A stainless steel knife set that costs less than your average takeout dinner? You better believe it. The Utopia Kitchen stainless steel kitchen 6-piece knives set provides you with an 8-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch bread knife, an 8-inch carving knife, a 5-inch utility knife, and a 3.5-inch paring knife in a sleek, clear acrylic storage stand.
With more than 2,100 five-star reviews, purchasers praise this set for being “beautiful and durable,” “sturdy,” and “extra sharp,” which means you don’t have to sacrifice a quality cut — even if you’re not working with a big budget.
Best Knife Set for Steak Lovers
Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-Piece
Where to buy: $134.99, Amazon
With a 3.25-inch parer, a 3-inch peeler, a 5-inch utility knife, eight 4.25-inch steak knives, a 7.75-inch chef’s knife, an 8-inch slicer, a 7.75-inch bread knife, a 5-inch partoku knife (for chopping or slicing veggies), a 7-inch santoku (an all-purpose Japanese knife), and an 8-inch stainless sharpening steel, the Chicago Cutlery Fusion 18-piece knife set is the mac daddy of all them all as far as meat lovers are concerned.
A recent reviewer called them the “best knife set” she’s had, adding, “I absolutely love this knife set. The chef's knife has replaced my other favorite knife. They are so comfortable and easy to hold. I highly recommend them!”
Best Professional Grade Knife Set
Global Ikasu 7-Piece
Where to buy: $329.95, Amazon
For those looking for a solid knife set investment, allow us to direct your attention to the Global Ikasu 7-piece knife set, These Japanese-made knives come with a lifetime warranty, and offer up a ton of impressive features, such as a stainless steel-dimpled handle for a safe grip and a ground blade edge on each side to create a super fine edge.
Best Soft Touch Knife Set
Cuisinart Advantage Color Collection 12-Piece
Where to buy: $15.83 (Originally $17.55), Amazon
The days of forgetting which knife you used for veggies and which one touched raw meat, poultry, and fish will be long gone with these babies. If you’re a bit of a messy cook who finds it challenging to keep track of your kitchen tools, you'll love the Cuisinart metallic multi-color stainless 14-piece knife set. This vibrant collection of stainless steel knives also feature a colorful nonstick metallic coating that will work to reduce your chances of cross contamination.
Best Stainless Steel Knife Set
Cuisinart 15-Piece Hollow Handle
Where to buy: $41.90 (Originally $46.99), Amazon
With both stainless steel handles and blades, this easy-to-clean and incredibly sharp set is a welcome addition to any kitchen counter. Not only are these Cuisinart beauties dishwasher safe, its knives provide precision-tapered ground blades that narrow gradually to a sharp, fine edges. There's also a strong, durable bolster for stability and control. Hey, more than 1,400 five-star shoppers can't be wrong, right?